I’m a true believer in creature comforts. In fact, if I had to list 5 of my favorite comforts in life, they would be:
1. A great-fitting pair of jeans
2. A soft toothbrush that won’t make my gums bleed
3. A fantastic pen that glides along the paper with no skips, stalls, or smudges.
4. A perfect bed pillow; not too flat, not too puffy
I know you’ve heard it a million times but breakfast truly is such an important part of our day. In my opinion, it can actually determine how the day will go and what will be accomplished.
But before I give you a list of these healthy breakfast ideas, I’d like to take a moment to thank Figs and Function reader, Wendy, for requesting a blog post addressing this age-old question, “What can I eat for breakfast?” In fact, you all may want to thank Wendy, because I was planning to teach you how to fold a fitted bed sheet before we organized your linen closet. (No fear, we’ll get to it.)
So there’s really no secret to eating a healthy breakfast. In fact, it’s quite easy if you remember to include three things: protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Here’s how you’ll benefit from this combination. The carbohydrates will provide lasting energy, fiber, and antioxidants found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The protein will help control blood sugar; and the healthy fats will have you feel satiated and reduce inflammation.
Some foods that fit into these categories.
Protein Carbohydrates Healthy Fats
Eggs oatmeal olive oil
Turkey buckwheat flax oil
Nut butters whole grain cereal pumpkin seeds
Nuts whole grain bread avocado
Milk and nut milks
Check out some of our favorite healthy breakfast combinations but you could eat these anytime of the day.
1. Easy Fried Egg with Kale (or spinach)
Warm a little olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add egg to pan and reduce temp to medium-low.
Add a handful of washed, torn raw kale (or spinach) leaves to the pan and cover with lid.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, depending on how firm you like your yolk. Serve as is, or on whole grain toast.
2. Turkey, Cheese, Fruit Kabob with Whole Grain Crackers
I ask the deli guy at Whole Foods to cut a 1/2-inch thick slab of Applegate Organic Turkey Breast for me. It usually comes out to about ¾ of a pound.
Cut cheese and turkey into cubes and thread on toothpicks, that’s your protein. Add a carb such as cherry tomato, red pepper, apple, or pear. These kabobs also make a great lunch for your kids to take to school, or you to take to the office. Throw in a handful of pumpkin seeds and you’re set.
3. Yogurt with Fruits, Nuts, and Flax
This recipe is one of my favorites to eat in the summertime when peaches, plums, and blueberries are available. However, you can also eat this breakfast with winter fruits; orange and grapefruit sections, chopped apple, and chopped pear. Top with yogurt of your choice. Recently I’ve been enjoying the plain, So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Sprinkle with nuts and ground flax seeds.
4. Frozen Whole Grain Waffle with Almond Butter and Sliced Banana (or apple)
This is a great breakfast to take to go. I make it, wrap it, and eat when I get to my destination. (I don’t eat in the car anymore. Besides it being extremely dangerous while driving, I was continually dropping salmon sushi down my center console.)
5. Eggs in Wontons
Years ago I saw this recipe being made on the Food Network. I wish I could give credit to the chef/host but I can’t remember whose show it was. I just remember when I made it for the first time, my family couldn’t get enough.
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Add 2 wonton skins to each cup overlapping so as to cover the pan. Crack an egg into each cup on top of the wonton. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until set. Serve with fresh fruit of your choice.
These can also be made with scrambled eggs, chopped vegetables, and a sprinkling of cheese.
6. Whole Grain Bagel with Avocado “Schmeer”, Tomato, and Cucumber
Ok, I admit, this recipe is not quite as satisfying as the usual bagel with a cream cheese “schmeer”. Lox, piled high with onion, cheese, and tomato is probably one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. However if you want to eat a healthier version, try this. You can still add lox and onion if you want. Sometimes we add turkey breast on top of the avocado and tomato. Make the bagel whole grain, or whole grain gluten-free if need be. Who knows, maybe your nearest deli will add it to their menu if you make a request.
7. Homemade Granola
There are so many amazing homemade granola recipes in cookbooks and on the internet. After testing a variety of different ones, I finally came up with the one that my family likes the best. Some people like it sweeter, some people like different nuts. Making granola is like choosing a college. There are so many awesome ones out there, but the trick is to find the one that makes YOU happy, and don’t be swayed by the one that makes your friend happy.
This recipe is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s Homemade Granola recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
Makes 12 cups
4 cups gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
¾ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups small-diced dried apricots
1 cup small-diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted dried cashews
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl.
Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl.
Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a spoon until all of the oats and nuts are coated.
Pour onto a 13×18-inch baking sheet.
Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews.
Serve with milk or yogurt for a complete and healthy breakfast.
Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
I know my mother-in-law never served leftovers to her family, because Mr. S has always had an aversion to eating last night’s dinner a second time. However, for me and thankfully our kids, it’s not a problem.
Pasta, Chicken, and Spinach Casserole
Rice, Beans, Chopped Tomato and Avocado
Broiled Fish with Broccoli and a Sweet Potato
Chef’s Salad with Applegate turkey, cheese and chopped raw veggies
Vegetable Stir-Fry over Quinoa
Kasha (Buckwheat) and Gluten-free pasta (Kasha and Bowties)
These are just some of the healthier leftovers. Of course, you can always eat leftover ribs, wings, and fries but that sort of defeats the purpose of choosing a healthy breakfast, don’t you think?
So my healthy breakfast-eating buds, I hope this helps. Just remember, include a protein source, a carbohydrate source, and a healthy fat source to get the highest nutrient value. Try to choose whole foods, not processed, to avoid unhealthy hydrogenated fats, refined white flour, and white sugar as well as artificial flavorings and colorings. If you’re going to take the time to eat breakfast, why not make it as satisfying, energy-building and blood-sugar-stabilizing as possible? Bon Appétit.
Until Next Time,